We still have so much to discover about the ocean – it is truly the great mystery of the world. There is also so much stunning marine life below the surface, many of it we never actually get the chance to experience. But, did you know that the ocean also stores around 771 billion tons of carbon? Most of which would make the planet uninhabitable were it not below the surface. But, it’s important to understand that some of the marine life under the water could be crucial for helping to save the planet.
Most people feel that climate change and global warming are issues that need to be addressed. Now, you may not have thought it, but we can learn a lot from marine life, and it can prove instrumental in helping us fight against global warming. Pigments could play a major part in the process, meaning that the colors of plants and algae in the ocean can play a huge role in helping save the planet.
The carbon we find in the ocean is dissolved organic matter, also referred to as DOM and is much less harmful than the carbon in living things. For example, some of the dissolved organic matter is still released into the atmosphere, but the percentage of radioactive carbon-14 is much lower than other living things on the planet. This means that most of it will stay in the oceans for a longer period of time. The advantage here is that DOM is a great example of a way of storing carbon long-term, without it having an adverse impact on the environment.
Research and analysis
There is a lot we still aren’t aware of when it comes to DOM and exactly how it works. While we know the carbon forms molecules, there is still a lot we’re unaware of, such as the composition of these molecules, and how they work. This has led to a more extensive study by the University of California – they collected samples for study. Findings showed that DOM molecules are very similar to what is known as carotenoid degradation. This is what happens when the substance that gives plants their rich colors (carotenoids) breaks down.
What we can learn from this
So, what can this tell us about carbon storage, and protecting the environment? Well, there are a lot of different things we can figure out from these results. A large proportion of dissolved organic matter can be found in carotenoids, and this is an important discovery. It raises interesting and important points for the future and suggests that marine life with a large concentration of carotenoids will remain in the ocean after death rather than returning to the atmosphere. So, this can open up a great deal of possibilities in terms of carbon storage, and how we can protect the planet in the future.
As we know, climate change is a real problem that needs to be addressed, and it’s important to make sure we don’t ignore it. We can learn a lot about the planet from the ocean, and the DOM under the sea can be useful in understanding carbon storage and looking at the way in which the planet can be protected against global warming.